This is the adventure of John Edward Slagle. John, 56, of St. Charles, Missouri, embarked on his journey into heaven on July 13, 2021, at his family home. He will always be remembered as a beloved husband, father, grandfather, family man, friend, amazingly talented cook and world traveler.
John’s adventure began on a summer day in August in Broken Bow, Nebraska, as the child of Jasper Slagle and Mary (Pfenning) Slagle. John shared a household with sisters Krista and Melissa. John started his culinary expertise as a child cooking for his sisters and himself whenever his parents would go out to eat. He would cook all the things him and his sisters weren’t allowed to eat, for example the steaks that were for their parents. Funny thing is there were 5 huge steaks in a package, and to hide all evidence, he told them they had to eat all five steaks, and they did. Another time they fried everything one could think of from their garden.
John’s nickname was “Moose,” a fitting name for the gentle man who stood at 6’3”, who also played basketball in center position for Shiloh High School. John started his journey in the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout.
John attended Southwest Baptist University, where he met the eternal love of his life, Deborah “Deb” Lynn Nitzsche, on Easter weekend and just weeks before graduating with a Business degree. It can be said that fate, hard work, and a case of the chickenpox brought them together. Both John and Deb decided to remain on campus during Easter weekend for different reasons – John, because his sister, Krista, had the chickenpox, and Deb stayed because she had to write a long paper for classwork.
As with many holiday weekends, the university campus population was sparse, and John and Deb ended up going to a group dinner with mutual friends. After the friendly get-together, Deb mentioned that she had bought eggs and shrink wrap decorations and was uncertain how to do so, and John, being the helpful and kind soul, offered to teach her. John asked Deb out that Saturday evening, and their first date was Sunrise Easter Sunday service.
Both John and Deb journeyed through life, learning, and living together. They attended Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, where he graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and she graduated with a Biology degree. Later in their life adventures, both John and Deb earned their Executive MBA degrees, sitting side-by-side in class at Washington University in St. Louis.
John and Deb’s love for each other blossomed and they celebrated their union, marrying on July 2nd, 1988, at the First Baptist Church in Sparta, Illinois. In 1990, they welcomed the birth of their son, Andrew, in Edwardsville, Illinois.
John was a dedicated father and best friend to Andrew. As an inspiration to Andrew and the next generation, for six years, John served as Scoutmaster of Troop 30 in Edwardsville, Illinois often instilling the importance of discipline, caring, integrity, character, generosity, trust, confidence, thriftiness, and leadership by example. John led Andrew and the Troop 30 scouts on many adventures and summer camps. Some of the trips he took with Andrew included the mountainous scout ranch in Philmont, New Mexico, and Andrew’s first overnight camping trip at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
John was well-known for his endless interests and willingness to try any hobby, in which he gave it his all. He was renowned for his culinary skills, and often referred to fondly as a master of cooking. John won every cooking contest he entered and often used his mastery of fine cuisine to cook for his Boy Scout Troop; friends and family; and all those who would be privileged to enjoy his culinary delights.
As a mechanical engineer, John naturally loved to work with his hands – innovating, designing, building, and repairing endless projects. John was Andrew’s mentor and they often worked on various tasks together, from finishing Andrew’s family basement to working on electrical and plumbing projects, to building a deer stand. John shared his love of adventure and the outdoors, often bringing Andrew on fishing, deer, elk, and turkey hunting trips. To celebrate John’s 50th birthday, Deb and Andrew took him on an elk hunting adventure in northwest Colorado. They hiked the 8,000 feet up and down together and sat on the edges of the Rocky Mountains. Mind you Deb is terribly afraid of heights but would do that just so they all could be together.
Love and adventure ran through the Slagle family. John, Deb, and Andrew shared a passion of distance running, and the family completed many marathons and races side-by-side.
Family was paramount to John, who dedicated his time to loving and helping raise his granddaughter Ellie, Andrew, and Courtney’s daughter. John called Ellie his “Princess,” and Ellie called John her “Papa.” John and Ellie spent hours cooking and eating popcorn together, but never forgetting to share a bowl with Grandma Deb. Their favorite culinary delight to whip up were cookies, usually ranger cookies because he knew those were Debs favorite. John was a constant presence for Ellie, never leaving her side, even when she napped, whether it was for five minutes or three hours. John naturally and proudly assumed the grandpa role, often taking his “Princess” on UTV “buggy” rides to pick up princess drinks and chocolate at the local store.
John met his grandson Ethan, June 21, 2021. He loved Ethan even before he met him. John doted on Ethan and was looking forward to more adventures with his new grandson.
An impromptu backyard wood fired pizza party Friday night began John’s final earthly adventure on July 9. John enjoyed watching Ethan while the rest of the family went kayaking the following day. On Sunday, while taking part in the traditional 5-mile morning neighborhood walk with Deb, the couple ran into the grandkids and Andrew and Courtney on the neighborhood playground. On this hot summer day, John was excited to share Ellie’s first ice cream truck experience by buying her a very colorful ice cream bar, and he lovingly carried Ellie on his shoulders as they walked home. He called it a perfect day and weekend together.
Even as John was not with us anymore, he continued to give and provide for others as an organ donor. John was able to provide skin, bone graft for cancer patients, heart valve and tendon grafts which you know were in great shape being a marathon runner, veins, and corneas to give someone sight.
Loved ones that paved the heavenly way for John are his father, Jasper Slagle; and his three infant brothers Paul; and twins David and Daniel.
John’s adventures will continue in heaven and will be eternally remembered by his wife, Deborah “Deb” Lynn (Nitzsche) Slagle; his son and daughter-in-law Andrew and Courtney (Locandro) Slagle; grandchildren Ellie and Ethan; his mother, Mary (Pfennig) Slagle; sister, Krista (Slagle) Deans and brother-in-law Sid Deans; nieces Vanessa Van Riper and Melanie Chandler; and sister Melissa (Slagle) Gray and brother-in-law Rodney “Rod” Gray; and nephew Benjamin Morales.
In lieu of flowers and in loving remembrance of John, the family asks for support to these two charities:
- Operation Food Search: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=ofsearch&id=98
- Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation: https://mochf.org/